CHARLES H. THORNTON was born in Camden, New Jersey in August of 1859 to John and Eveline Thornton. John Thornton supported his family by working as a silver plater. The Census of 1850 and that of 1860 show the Thornton family in Camden's Middle Ward. The family then consisted of John and Eveline Thornton and their children, Louise, Ida, Charles, and Annie.

John Thornton was a volunteer fire fighter, and a founding member of Weccacoe Hose Company Number 2. This volunteer Hose Company was organized on March 15, 1858, by Allan Ward, Edward T. James, Edward J. Steer, John W. Gar wood, George W. Thomas, Simeon H. Pine, Thomas C. Barrett, Thomas Ellis, John Thornton, and the following officers were elected : Thomas D. Laverty (president), Allan Ward (vice-presi dent), Edward T. James (secretary) and E. J. Steer (treasurer). The headquarters of the company were with the Weccacoe Fire Company for nearly two years, and they removed to a stable belonging to Isaac Shreeve, near Hudson and Bridge Avenues, and later to Joseph Delacour's laboratory, on Front, near Arch. In 1863 they bought ground on Benson, above Fifth, at a cost of four hundred and fifty dollars, and erected a two-story building of brick, costing two thousand two hundred dollars. On February 2, 1860, the company was incorporated. In 1868 the company purchased a steam fire-engine at a cost of five thousand eight hundred dollars, which they expected to pay, by subscription, but the agitation of the question of a paid department prevented the collection of the money, and when they went out of service, in 1869, they were five thousand dollars in debt. Instead of disbanding, they resolved to maintain the organization until every obligation was liquidated and the honor of the company sustained. To do this they utilized their assets, met regularly and contributed as if in active service, and after fourteen years of honest effort, September 8, 1883, they met, and after pay ing the last claims against them, amounting to $14.25, adjourned.

When the Civil War broke out in April of 1861, John Thornton enlisted with many other Camden men in the Fourth Infantry Regiment. The Fourth Infantry Regiment was organized for a three months term. He re-enlisted in September of 1862 for a nine month term as First Sergeant with Company D, 24th New Jersey Volunteers. 

The Thornton family was still in Camden's Middle Ward when the Census was taken in 1870. He returned to his family in Camden. John Thornton and his family were living at 665 South 3rd Street when the 1878-1879 Camden City Directory was compiled. John Thornton moved his family to 225 Benson Street by the middle of 1879. Sadly, he passed away prior to the enumeration of the June 16, 1880 Census, and was buried in what today is called Old Camden Cemetery. 

City Directories through 1883 show Charles Thornton living at 225 Benson Street. Charles Thornton worked as a roofer. When the Census was taken in 1880 Charles Thornton was living with his widowed mother and sisters Louise and Annie. 

Following in the footsteps of his late father, in the spring of 1884 Charles Thornton was appointed to the Camden Fire Department, to serve as an extra man with the Hook & Ladder Company, replacing Alfred Ivins. He served until July 1, 1885 when the Fire Department was reorganized and eighteen of the extra men were let go. Charles Thornton was one of that number.

The 1887-1888 shows Charles Thornton, his mother Eveline and sister Louise living at 608 South 4th Street. Charles Thronton died of consumption on February 14, 1889, according to the Camden Daily Courier. He was then residing on Pine Street between Locust and South 3rd Street, according to the newspaper.

The 1888-1889 Director shows only his mother and sister at 608 South 4th Street. They moved to 633 South 4th Street by 1890 and were still there as late as 1900. The 1900 Census shows that of Eveline Thornton's four children, only Louisa, who lived with her, was still alive.